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Lingard double saves United blushes

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Manchester United forward Anthony Martial (R) celebrates with midfielder Jesse Lingard after Lingard scored a goal on July 23, 2017 in Santa Clara, California

MANCHESTER, United Kingdom, Dec 26 – Jesse Lingard stepped off the bench to rescue Manchester United with a brace as they came from behind to draw 2-2 with Burnley at Old Trafford on Boxing Day.

Jose Mourinho’s side found themselves trailing 2-0 at the interval after Ashley Barnes broke the deadlock in the third minute, before Steven Defour doubled the Clarets’ lead with a superb free-kick on 36 minutes.

But Lingard, who was brought on at half-time along with Henrikh Mkhitaryan, pulled one back with a cheeky backheel and struck again in stoppage time to earn a share of the spoils.

The visitors made a dream start after Marcos Rojo was booked in the second minute for a foul on Johann-Berg Gudmundsson, whose free-kick was lashed home at the far post by Barnes after United failed to clear their lines.

Scott Arfield was inches away from doubling their lead on 12 minutes when he steered Gudmundsson’s cross from the right just over the crossbar and onto the roof of the net.

The Red Devils had a couple of half-chances before Luke Shaw went close in the 17th minute as space opened up for him on the left, but his driven effort from 22 yards out was parred away by Nick Pope.

The Burnley keeper pulled off an even better save four minutes later when he clawed away Paul Pogba’s header from a corner, and it proved crucial as his team went 2-0 up on 36 minutes. David De Gea had no answer to Defour’s curling free-kick which found the top-left corner of the net from 25 yards out.

The hosts almost halved the deficit two minutes later from Pogba’s exquisite diagonal ball that found Rashford on the left, with the forward cutting inside and beating Pope but Ben Mee was there to clear off the line.

Pogba then came close two minutes before half-time with a curling shot from 20 yards out that flew narrowly past the right post, although the Clarets were deserved leaders at the break.

United were quickly on the attack after the restart with Pogba flashing a shot a few feet over the bar from 25 yards out in the 46th minute, while half-time substitute Lingard somehow failed to score five minutes later when he steered Ashley Young’s cross from the right against Pope’s face and onto the bar from two yards out.

But he struck just two minutes later with a sublime finish from another Young cross, which was flicked into the bottom-left corner of the net off his heel.

Pogba looked to replicate Defour’s feat on 70 minutes as he curled a free-kick just over the bar from an almost identical position to the opener, before Mkhitaryan steered a header well off target from Young’s cross on the right 10 minutes later.

Just when it looked like Burnley would record a rare win at the Theatre of Dreams, Lingard popped up at the death to fire home from 16 yards out after Juan Mata’s free-kick dropped at his feet.

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